Europe has of late become a place for We the People of the United States to begin in some ways to consider emulating – after decades of it being an economic and societal afterthought and punch line.
The Barack Obama Administration spent its first two years hurtling us towards 1970s France – accumulating record debt to fund dubious “stimulus” spending and corrupt political payoffs, enacting socialized medicine, nationalizing large swaths of various industries and slapping the economy with heaping helpings of new regulations.
And when President Obama headed across the Pond for the G-20 Summit, he demanded the Europeans engage in the same profligate spending he had – in other words, take his Old Europe medicine – to address the recession.
This is the Administration, after all, that is the current way station for Vice President Joe Biden and his brilliant economic insights – “We have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt.”
But many Europeans wisely responded with “Mr. President, we’ll instead practice austerity, thank you very much.”
Translation: They’ve long been doing the government-laden approach, and they will now instead try freedom. And in many parts of New Austerity Europe, the recession is now just a bad memory – not a continuing crisis.
Europe is now exhibiting the same good sense with regard to Internet policy – specifically the ridiculous notion that is Network Neutrality. It is passing on the government-laden approach, and instead (continuing to) try freedom.
At the European Commission and European Parliament Summit on “The Open Internet and Net Neutrality in Europe,” Neelie Kroes – the commissioner for the European Union (EU)’s digital agenda – gave a November 11th speech during which she announced that Europe would not be imposing a Net Neutrality law.
Kroes seems to get that Net Neutrality is a solution running around looking for a problem – meaning there are very few if any (in the United States – ZERO) current Net Neutrality-related complaints lodged anywhere by anyone. And unless and until there are, Europe will leave the Internet well enough alone.
“If we encounter significant and persistent problems, I will not be afraid to change the law in the future to achieve competition and choice consumers deserve.”
Kroes acknowledged that it is the Internet consumers who rule the roost – and not the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) as alleged by the pro-Net Neutrality gaggle. And if an ISP were to do something their customers didn’t like, they would let the ISP have it – just as always happens in every other facet of the free market. From Cecilia Kang’s Washington Post piece:
(Kroes) also said consumers will guide industry behavior. If a carrier were to block Skype, a service Kroes said she uses to call family back home, consumers would protest.
Kroes concludes her speech with what would seem to be an apt description of why they are passing on Net Neutrality:
“I consider that the core of the Internet should remain a robust, best effort Internet to which everyone has access (and) I want to leave room for future innovation….”
“Remain a robust, best effort Internet” – which means it is a robust, best effort Internet NOW – WITHOUT Net Neutrality emplaced.
“I want to leave room for future innovation…” – innovation which Net Neutrality would constrict into oblivion.
So we say Bravo to Ms. Kroes and the E.U. for making the rational and right decision to discard the absurdity that is Net Neutrality.
And hearty congratulations to all of Europe – who will enjoy an Internet that remains free to grow, broaden and be ever increasingly the free speech, free market Nirvana that it is and has been – without Net Neutrality in place.
Vive la Liberté. Lebhaft die Freiheit. Bully.